Gambling and video games may not seem like they are closely related but the UK’s House of Commons considers them both to be addictive technologies. This is why a committee has been formed to investigate and formulate a report on how the government should regulate these two industries. This investigation is commission in the hopes of protecting the public from the negative effects of “gamification”.
The digital, culture, media, and sports (DCMS) committee is just finishing up its investigation of fake news and it now plans on looking at the relationship between video games and gambling. This is another move against the increasing frequency of tactics in video games that encourage addictive behavior. This includes the use of lootboxes, which encourage video gamers to buy them blind while hoping for high-value results.
The main focus of the DCMS committee will be to look at how in-game transactions can affect the spending habits of children playing the game. Games like Call of Duty, Overwatch and FIFA have received a lot of criticism in recent months as reports have surfaced that young FIFA players can spend up to £500 on these video games. They have even developed the habit of spending a minimum of £15 a week.
Though other games like Fortnite don’t have micro-transactions, they have also been criticized because of their highly-addictive gameplay. Forming unhealthy habits like these are posing problems to parents in the UK as well as the gambling watchdog.
Committee To Look At Addictive Technologies
In a statement, Damien Collins, the chairman of the committee said
During our recent inquiries, the committee has heard repeated concerns about the impact to society of the increasing amounts of time that people spend immersed in online worlds, and the potentially addictive nature of social media and gaming. We want to explore these concerns during this inquiry and consider what the right response should be in setting public policy for the future.
Collins pointed out that technologies like these are becoming an increasing part of the UK landscape. These can become pathways to growth like eSports and gaming but the dangers should also be acknowledged. According to him, the goal of the committee is to look at the industry and see what steps need to be taken so that the government can still be a key player.
Habit-forming behavior has not only been limited to games. Facebook and Twitter have been also criticized for creating an atmosphere conducive to addictive behaviour. Critics point out that these companies have adopted slot-machine-like design to encourage players to keep on coming back for more.